Date of Award

Spring 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Crystal L. Hoyt

Second Advisor

Dr. Al Goethals

Third Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Erkulwater


This research demonstrates how the social identities of race and gender can influence presidential candidate evaluation. Specifically, it emphasizes that political ideology and gender attitudes can play a significant role in how we respond to political candidates’ social identities when making our evaluations. Through an empirical study, we explore how individuals’ political ideologies and attitudes towards women in authority impact individuals’ evaluations of leaders with different social identities. Results suggest that it is not the candidate specifically nor their social identities that lead to biases in evaluations, but the perspectives of the evaluators that contribute to these biases. We find that, overall, individuals do not favor men over women, nor do they have a general preference for White candidates over Black candidates. We also find that political ideology predicts evaluations of White candidates with greater conservatism predicting greater support and that attitudes toward women in authority predict evaluations of the female candidate such that people who hold more traditional attitudes report lower evaluations. The present research contributes to our understanding of the various and subtle factors that influence biases in leader evaluations.